US Business in Africa Awards Launch highlights the move from “Aid to Trade”

November 2021 – On an uncharacteristically grey and chilly day in Durban, South Africa, the US Business in Africa Awards was launched, signaling a new era for doing business on this continent. Notably, dignitaries present unanimously agreed that the narrative is changing in Africa: it’s no longer about “aid,” but about creating the conditions necessary for consistent trade and investment.

Trade and investment require conducive legal and policy environments and a close partnership between American and African businesses. In this era of climate change and pandemics, earning profits is no longer divorced from sustainable and meaningful development on the ground.

It is in this spirit that the Organizing Committee of the US Business in Africa Awards, hosted by Wits University’s African Centre for the Study of the United States (ACSUS), partnered with Wits School of Business, the US Mission to South Africa, Afeximbank, the African Union, the American Chamber of Commerce South Africa, the African Development Bank, the American Chamber of Commerce (South Africa) and African Business Group to launch a seminal 9-month long awards programme. This will have three goals:

Identifying, recognizing, and celebrating excelling American companies.
Producing knowledge through research and case studies.
Corporate ambassadorship and public engagement.

The awards will ultimately improve intellectual discourse and deepen the understanding of American corporations’ role and value in Africa.

Thus, every year from August 2022, exemplary US multinational companies (MNCs) and mid-sized companies and small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) contributing meaningfully to African economies will be identified and recognized through an elaborate and impartial process.

At the launch, the Organizing Committee was represented by Mr. Michael Sudarkasa, who served as program director, Ms Angela Russel of the American Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Ezekiel Odiogo of the African Development Bank.